Hi Nina, the book I was looking for was the "Harper Hall of Pern", which is actually a trilogy of three books under one binding by Anne McCaffrey. I love the Dragonriders of Pern series. I turns out that this book (and the three contained within) are not in print, even though many others of her works are. These books are 4-5-6 in the series. 1-2-3, and other later volumes in the series are still in print.
Incidentally, I have resolved the problem. Since I don't want to incriminate myself nor upset the folks here, I'll leave it at that :)
Very nice blast against the U.S. DHS and the U.S. air security hysteria. I have become very averse to U.S. travel since they kidnapped and tortured a Canadian. I really wish more people would realize just how out of hand things have gotten down there.